Daschle Does The Right Thing

In this Dec. 5, 2008 file photo, former Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle is seen during the 2008 Colorado Health Care Summit in Denver. Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name from consideration as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

It is the right thing to do. Daschle's tax problems would have haunted the nomination process. As it is, Tim Geithner, the new Treasury Secretary will forever be known by a footnote as the guy with the tax problem.

Daschle's would have been worse. President Obama ran on a pledge to bring transparency to the Washington and to close the revolving door between the lobbyists on K Street and the White House.

Maybe those pledges, in the end, crushed Daschle. The former Senator and the President are tight. A number of former Daschle staffers went to work for the new junior senator from Illinois as the once Senate minority and majority leader had been voted out of office.

None of that is important now. Daschle was to be the President's point man on reforming health care. And whoever winds up in that role will have to be beyond clean.
By Harry Smith